People from different parts of India and around the world visit Varanasi for different reasons. Although Varanasi is popularly called the city of Shiva and her Holy Mother-Consort Annapurna, it is at once the city of temples, the city of 'ghats', the city of music, and the center for moksha or nirvana (salvation). For every visitor, Varanasi has a different experience to offer. But of all and the many flavors, ranging from the intellectual to the cultural; from the ecological to the deep spiritual, finally the gentle waters of the Ganges, perhaps, presents the largest, the deepest and the most unfathomable indispensable touch!

The urban scape of Varanasi begins with the boat ride on Ganga at sunrise, treading the high banks of the ancient "Ghats"; watching the array of shrines; following beyond them the meandering narrow serpentine alleys of the city; silhouetting the skyline of myriad temple spires, and the many many palaces at water's edge, some of which being the ashrams (hermitages) or some as the age-old ‘old age homes’ where incoming souls under the best of ‘alms and generosity’ are seeking an ‘end-of-life-care’ of the highest kind; and finally, in and through the pavilions intervening with courts, where the chanting of mantras and the fragrance of incense, through the palm and cane parasols, finally surges in the form of the oldest devotional hymns of the world and all of that culminate to a mystifying experience that eternally flows through the one and only one – The Bhagirathi: she, in the words of Adi Shankaracharya – is ‘Devi Sureswari Bhagawati Gange’ – The Holy Sacred, the Supreme Queen of the Celestial world, the Supreme Mother of all, the Ganga!


An immediate pilot project in the heart of Kolkata (Gariahat area) to re-design and re-resuscitate the livelihood of hawkers + allied informal sectors keeping in mind 'creative economy' and the overall 'Future of our city'. The concern is to boost the background technology of different home-stead, cottage-industrial products to which the Hawkers represent a retail end. Principal Investigator (s) Joy Sen; Koumudi Patil (IITK)

Co-PIs Bhargab Maitra; Haimanti Banerjee; Pulak Mishra

A second pilot project on 'Heritage tourism' considering the 'creative economy' of Kumartuli area - a) Terracotta and b) adobe related / reed plastered handicraft and image making. The concern is to re-explore the application and range of Terracotta technology as a building material (club with other regions).

Principal Investigator (s) Joy Sen; Koumudi Patil (IITK)

Co-PIs N. C. Nayak; Priyadarshi Patnaik; Mainak Ghosh; Pulak Mishra

A documentation work, urban cell by cell, of the shopping precincts, and spots of heritage tourism and Creative Economic regeneration (CER), Technology de-construction and re-casting, IPR Making, Business and Management Model forecasting based on CER of College Street, Boipara belt of Kolkata

Principal Investigator (s) Joy Sen; Koumudi Patil (IITK)

Co-PIs Sunando Dasgupta; Mainak Ghosh; Jaideep Barman; Haimanti Banerjee

To explore the area of design knowledge in the grassroots in general and craft in particular for:

a) Understanding measuring systems of low literate designers - How do low to illiterate craftsmen handle measurements related to proportions, sizes and balance in the absence of explicit understanding of mathematics and geometry and access to precision tools? The question may result into interesting insights especially in the area of complex designs of boat-makers or metal casting craftsmen who measure furnace temperature by visual means alone.

b) Pedagogy of the Karkhanas: Mainstream curriculum often lacks a studio based practice. Tacit learning is limited to assignments that mimic principles into practice. But practice has a pedagogy of its own, which craft Karkhanas excel in. In the absence of formal education, learning here is limited to the tacit exchange of knowledge during production itself. Thinking and Production run parallel in the Karkhanas. Can we get a handle on the methods and tools of this tacit pedagogy?

The basic objectives are:

• To work out IPR related issues of community owned traditional design products and technologies

• To work out an IPR that is shared between similar communities but not manifested in mainstream/ organized/ formal sectors

• To work out a legal framework of sustainable IPR systems for these communities, in case IPR is flouted, who writes complain and based on what files in the past?

• To work out action plans for working of logos / identity marks based on trades and exchanges

• To work out strategies of making the community aware and conscious of the trademark if not the IPR while they do not believe in such a system

• To outline fair-trade strategies for the creative communities based on repercussions